From Latin desiderare, molded on the verb to consider; «to miss»
1. Feel the desire of something; long for what can satisfy our need or pleasure
2. Being in need of something, missing something

The widely spread concept of desire often includes those of lack and need, even when the person’s will is considered: “I strongly desire this” often means: “I can’t do without it”.

Instead, according to the self-empowerment approach it is key to distinguish between needing and desiring. These two are often perceived as overlapping concepts and therefore not so easily distinguishable.

By “desire” we mean something referring to the concept of increase, to the idea of mobilizing some “extra” energy that elicits a feeling of pleasure rather than feelings of need and urgency. In some ways we could say that the more we desire, the better we feel; the more needs we have, the worse we feel.

However, some of the features of desires make them frailer and more demanding than needs, with the result that we may end up putting them aside:

  • Desires can more easily be put off and postponed if compared to our needs
  • Desires are demanding, they often require a change of direction as well as the willingness to run some risks
  • Desires are intimate, extremely subjective, and sometimes they are not easily “confessed”

These are some of the reasons why, with time, we unlearn to listen to the voice of our Desiring Self, while, at the same time, overrating that of our Needing Self.

Yet, when working towards self-empowerment it is key to get in contact with and integrate our “desiring” part, because:

  • It provides us with a push to overcome our struggles or limitations, either real or perceived, and to find new nourishment to take on our own goals.
  • It allows us to get in touch with a positive, intense energy that often brings along gusto and fun..
  • It helps not to be pre-occupied about others while enabling us to positively focus on our priorities.
  • It is a generative voice that provokes us to add something (i.e. a new skill) that wasn’t there before.

One last distinction: we often hear people say that too much desiring exposes to the risk of being frustrated. We usually answer with a question: “What if, instead, frustration would come from not having any desire at all?”

Here’s a small “exercise” to play with your “desiring part”: try to fill in a list with at least 20 desires. Here are some guidelines:

  • Feel free to range across different contexts (family, work, passions…)
  • Do not limit to what’s feasible: fly high!
  • Start every wish on your list with “I want”
  • Always use positive tenses instead of negative ones
  • Do not write desires concerning sums of money (winning a lottery); rather, try to explain what you would do with the money earned or won
  • Do not make a wish for someone else (i.e. “I would live my child to…”), only speak for yourself

Now I’m asking you: how long did you take to fill in your list? Was it hard? Or, were those desires already there and therefore they emerged easily? How would you react if I asked you to fill in another list with 50 desires? There, now you know what’s the “temperature” of your Desiring Self.
And if the temperature is low (you found it hard to fill in your list or you even gave up), I suggest you practice, training yourself to look at things with greater hope and openness, to express your wishes, to talk about your likings, even at the risk of seeming naive or, maybe, a dreamer.

Want to find out the Empowerment Alphabet?